Trump stops WHO funding, accusing it of covering up outbreak

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: A staff member cleans the floor after the last patients were discharged from Leishenshan Hospital, originally built to treat people infected with COVID-19, in Wuhan on Tuesday.
A staff member cleans the floor after the last patients were discharged from Leishenshan Hospital, originally built to treat people infected with COVID-19, in Wuhan on Tuesday.AFP - Getty Images

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As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world nears 2 million, with more than 125,000 confirmed deaths, President Donald Trump said he'd halt U.S. funding for the World Health Organization after the organization criticized his early response to the pandemic.

In the U.S., the recorded death toll topped 23,500, according to NBC News' tally.

Los Angeles County announced on Tuesday that it'd suffered the worst day yet of the pandemic, losing 40 more lives to the disease, bringing the death toll to 360 in that metropolis.

The toll of COVID-19 has hit no city harder than New York, and official counts in the five boroughs might even be understated. While the city's health department listed the confirmed death toll at 6,589 by 1 p.m., the "probable" number of fatalities is at least 3,778 more — which would bring the staggering total to more than 10,000, according to data obtained by NBC News.

Here's what to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments.

Download the NBC News app for latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading April 15 coronavirus news here.

Senate Republicans investigating WHO and China's coronavirus response

Congressional Republicans are planning their own probe into the coronavirus outbreak – examining how the World Health Organization and Chinese government responded to the pandemic from the onset.

The Senate Homeland Security Committee, led by Chairman Ron Johnson R-Wis., will conduct a “wide-ranging” oversight investigation into the origins of the virus and the WHO’s response to the virus, according to a committee source familiar with the matter.

President Donald Trump announced Tuesday he was halting funding to the organization for having fumbled the response to the pandemic by failing to challenge the Chinese government's early accounts of how the virus was spreading. "The outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death," Trump said.

Senator Rick Scott, R-Fl., who called for an investigation into the WHO two weeks ago, was tasked by Johnson with taking the lead on that aspect of the probe, a source close to Scott told NBC News.

Click here for the full story. 

Trump to use his 'total' authority to authorize governors to reopen states

A day after he was roundly criticized for falsely claiming he had "total" authority to reopen the country, President Donald Trump said he'd "be authorizing each individual governor of each individual state to implement a re-opening and a very powerful re-opening plan of their state at a time and in a manner as most appropriate."

"I will be speaking to all 50 governors very shortly," Trump said at a coronavirus news briefing in the Rose Garden.

On Monday evening, Trump insisted to reporters that he has the authority to order states to reopen if he wants, and that the "the president of the United States calls the shots." On Tuesday, Trump said "I'm not going to put any pressure" on any state to reopen before governors feel they're ready. 

He also said some states may be ready to step away from CDC social distancing guidelines, which are supposed to last through the end of the month, before May, and he'd "authorize" them to do so. 

"The day will be very close, because certain states as you know are in a much different condition, much different place than other states. It's going to be very, very close, maybe even before the date of May 1stSo, that will be for some states. Actually, there are over 20 that are an extremely good shape, and we think we will be able to get them open fairly quickly, and then others will follow," Trump said. 

The number of coronavirus tests plummeted in recent days

The number of coronavirus tests done by private labs has dropped precipitously over the past few days, according to the American Clinical Laboratory Association, even as state and local officials have called for an expansion of testing.

Private labs like Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp perform 85% of the coronavirus tests nationwide.

The total number of tests done per day by private labs hit a peak of 108,000 tests on April 5, but last week’s daily average was 87,000. And the numbers have dropped steadily over the past three days: from 91,000 on Saturday to 75,000 on Sunday to 43,000 on Monday.

The reason for the steep decline wasn’t immediately clear. 

Quest Diagnostics reported a backlog of 150,000 tests last week, but as of Tuesday the backlog has been cleared.  “In recent days, our capacity for COVID-19 diagnostic services has exceeded demand for these services,” said spokesperson Kimberly Gorode.

3 California churches sue Gov. Gavin Newsom over orders banning gatherings

California Governor Gavin Newsom speaks in front of the hospital ship USNS Mercy after it arrived into the Port of Los Angeles on March 27, 2020.Carolyn Cole / Pool via AFP - Getty Images

Three southern California churches have filed a lawsuit against the state's governor and local officials over orders that ban religious gatherings because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order on March 19 to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The order says that residents should stay home, except for essential needs or jobs. It required indoor shopping malls and nonessential retail to close.

Read the full story here. 

Trump says he'll halt funds to World Health Organization for 'covering up' coronavirus

President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced he is halting funding for the World Health Organization after the organization criticized his early response to the coronavirus epidemic.

Trump accused the WHO of "severely mismanaging and covering up" the coronavirus crisis, specifically the initial outbreak in Wuhan, China. Trump previously threatened to cut off funding after the organization criticized his travel restrictions on China.

Read the full story here. 

Thousands of health care workers infected with coronavirus, CDC report finds

Nurses stand at UCLA Medical Center as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Los Angeles, on April 13, 2020.Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

Between 10 percent and 20 percent of U.S. coronavirus cases are health care workers, though they tended to be hospitalized at lower rates than other patients, officials reported Tuesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the first national data on how the pandemic is hitting doctors, nurses and other health care professionals.

Read the full story here. 

'Probable' coronavirus deaths in New York City would push toll over 10,000

The number of "probable" coronavirus deaths in New York City would push its death toll over 10,000, according to NYC Department of Public Health Data obtained by NBC News.

The data showed that the city's 6,589 confirmed coronavirus deaths would jump by 3,778 with "probable" fatalities included, raising the total death toll to 10,367.

The department defines a "probable" victim as someone who had not tested positive, but whose death certificate lists that they were killed by COVID-19, the disease associated with coronavirus.

"We are focused on ensuring that every New Yorker who died because of COVID-19 gets counted," said Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. "While these data reflect the tragic impact that the virus has had on our city, they will also help us to determine the scale and scope of the epidemic and guide us in our decisions."

She added that as new information becomes available, some deaths previously classified as probable may be reclassified as "laboratory-confirmed.”

Airlines will get a slice of the $25 billion payroll support program

American Airlines planes parked on a runway after flight reductions in response to the spread of coronavirus at Tulsa International Airport in Oklahoma on March 23, 2020.Nick Oxford / Reuters

Major U.S. airlines, roiled by the coronavirus pandemic, will be participating in the federal government’s $25 billion Payroll Support Program, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced on Tuesday.

Airlines and the more than 10 million workers that power the industry have taken a hard hit as global travel has come to a standstill with many states and countries enacting stay-at-home orders.

Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, United Airlines, SkyWest Airlines, and Southwest Airlines will all take part in the federal program, which is part of the $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package.  

“This is an important CARES Act program that will support American workers and help preserve the strategic importance of the airline industry while allowing for appropriate compensation to the taxpayers," Secretary Mnuchin said in a statement.

Los Angeles has deadliest day yet during pandemic

Sailors transport the first patient aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) into the casualty receiving area, in Los Angeles on March 29, 2020.Abigayle Lutz / AFP - Getty Images file

At least 40 more Los Angeles County residents have died from causes related to coronavirus, health officials said Tuesday, in what is the area's biggest one-day spike yet.

The death toll from the pandemic had reached 360 as of noon, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

Of the 40 new confirmed fatalities, 25 were older than 65 and nine were between the ages of 41 and 65, according to the agency's daily tally.

Student sues Liberty University, demands refund due to coronavirus response

Students at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, congregate while walking around on March 31, 2020.Amanda Andrade-Rhoades / AFP - Getty Images file

A student at Liberty University — which is under fire for opening its campus during the coronavirus pandemic — filed a class-action lawsuit against against the school, demanding a refund.

The anonymous plaintiff said if the university, established by Moral Majority founder Jerry Fallwell Sr., is to remain open at full cost, then it should also make available its full array of student services, according the federal complaint filed in Lynchburg, Virginia.

"Liberty University is, in a very real sense, profiting from the COVID-19 pandemic," the lawsuit states.

Read the full story here. 

'Redrawing our floor plans': Newsom lays out framework to reopen California

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday revealed a framework to eventually get the state back to work amid the coronavirus pandemic, including temporarily "redrawing our floor plans" in schools and businesses to allow for greater physical distancing.

Newsom did not give a timeframe for easing the state's current lockdown order, however. He laid out several benchmarks the state needs to hit before restrictions could start to be lifted, including enough room in the hospitals to handle another surge of patients, and having enough personal protective equipment available to protect first responders.

Read the full story here.